Depending on your linguistic preferences, you may call a garden room a conservatory, an orangery or a garden room.

Whatever you name it, however, you will find that you’re spoilt for choice with companies who offer that service.

So is there a difference between the three names and which one would best suit your circumstances, your budget, your home?


A garden room does sound rather grand when really it is simply named after its location – it abuts the garden either as an extension to a property or sits separately on its own on a lawn or patio like a summerhouse?

Names can blur boundaries but, at Envision Cad, we think the definition that is sits in a garden is not really enough. You may not agree with us but our definition of a garden room is not a glazed structure appended to French doors but something a little more substantial. A brick dwarf wall, with glazed windows and a polycarbonate roof is really a conservatory? Add a slate or tiled roof above the windows and doors though and then you call it a garden room? You decide.

What we can say though with greater certainty is that garden rooms cost more, and yet will probably pay you back handsomely as an investment and in the fact you’re able to use it all year round, not just in spring, early summer or autumn.

Christmas dinner in a garden room? Eminently possible.


Much cheaper than a garden room generally and possible to use all year if equipped correctly. The advantage of a conservatory is that planning permission is not usually required and their speed of building is generally rapid as the windows, door and roof are created off site and installed when the foundations and dwarf walls are in place.

Conservatories can suffer though in weather extremes – in winter, you may find penguins wandering around and in summer, without adequate cooling and blinds, you could use the heat and pretend you’re in a sauna.

With great heating though and ventilation, they can be used all year round. A glass roof can be incredibly energy efficient and attractive too, though glare can be an issue.


Originally designed as a building to house plants and grow exotic fruit by pioneering Victorians, the orangery is perhaps a halfway house between a garden room and conservatory. There is often a greater solidity about an “orangery” as they were used as an indoor garden by our ancestors. An even temperature is needed so that those oranges, limes and lemons don’t perish in winter or wilt and die in summer.


There is a fourth way too – an extension, which you can see examples of in our Caister case study and indeed another in nearby Fleggburgh.

Each is single storey, but we promise we will cover double storey extensions in a future blog post.

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If you need any advice about any form of domestic extension from this specialist architects Norwich , contact us today.